This course considers historiographic trends but also current approaches in history and art history that help us place material culture and visuality at the center of accounts of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Characterized by Burckhardt in 1860 in terms of the discovery of the world and of man, the Renaissance has long been associated with naturalism and materialism. Marx and others found explanatory models in capitalism, class difference, and wealth accumulation. Today, with the help of curatorial practice and literary theory, how might we reconceive of materiality, in the light of the extensive attention recently paid to such factors as clothing and domestic interiors, and to objects and "thing theory"? We will visit museum collections and a conservator's laboratory. Some attention will be paid to "popular" or "mass" culture, including the carnivalesque, the ephemeral (eg graffiti), and the relatively inexpensive (eg tin badges; votives).
Estimated cost of materials: less than $50. D. 3